The polls can be wrong, the results of the elections in Spain prove it. Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez managed on Sunday July 23 to limit the gains of the right-wing opposition and, against all odds, retains a chance of staying in power in extremis thanks to the game of alliances with left-wing parties.
Disappointment on the right. After counting more than 99% of the votes, the Popular Party (PP) of the conservative Alberto Núñez Feijóo totaled 136 seats out of a total of 350 in the Congress of Deputies and the far-right Vox party, its only potential ally, 33 seats, down from the last elections. The PP won 47 more seats than in previous elections in 2019, but far from the 150 seats its leader was aiming for and with 169 seats does not total the absolute majority set at 176.
The Socialist Party (PSOE) of the outgoing Prime Minister is credited with only 122 deputies and Sumar, his radical left ally, with 31. But he is paradoxically in a better position than his conservative rival and can hope to stay in power, because he has the possibility of obtaining the support of the Basque and Catalan parties, for whom Vox is a scarecrow.
Feijóo continues to claim victory
“The retrograde bloc of the People’s Party and Vox has been defeated,” the Prime Minister told socialist activists gathered outside his party’s headquarters. “There are many more of us who want Spain to keep moving forward,” he continued.
The polls carried out over the past five days, the results of which were published at the close of the polls, all predicted a large victory for the PP and even the possibility of an absolute majority with the support of Vox. However, Alberto Núñez Feijóo continues to claim victory. The PP “won the elections”, he launched from the balcony of the party headquarters, affirming his intention to “form a government” and asking the Socialists not to “block” such a government.
But without an absolute majority, he would need the abstention, during a vote of investiture in Parliament, of the Socialists. Pedro Sánchez, he seems able to gather on his name 172 deputies, more than the leader of the PP, and could therefore be returned to power, provided that the party of Catalan separatist Carles Puigdemont does not vote against him.
Otherwise, Spain, which has already experienced four general elections between 2015 and 2019, would find itself in a new situation of political deadlock and could be condemned to a new ballot.
Pedro Sanchez’s won bet
Accustomed to poker moves, Pedro Sánchez therefore retains the chances of succeeding in his last bet. Wanting to regain the initiative after the rout of the left in the local elections on May 28, he called this early election and campaigned on the fear of entering the government of Vox, which already leads with the PP three regions out of the 17 in the country, in order to mobilize the electorate on the left.
A strategy that seems to have paid off, with turnout reaching nearly 70%, or 3.5 points more than in the last election, in November 2019.